Judicial reform does not end here: Tsai

SUCCESS IN ACTION::The president outlined five tasks for the implementation of the congress’ suggestions, vowing to ensure that the stalled reforms of 1999 do not repeat

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Aug 13, 2017 - Page 1

The government is to continue efforts to enact sweeping judicial reform, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday, adding that she would personally oversee that the proposed changes are implemented by requesting the Judicial Yuan and the Executive Yuan to report on their progress every six months.

Tsai addressed members of the National Congress on Judicial Reform upon its conclusion, where she outlined five main tasks for her government to set up timetables and take charge of judicial reform.

“The key to judicial reform lies in follow-up actions. I will closely monitor the timetable for the required work and will demand government ministries accelerate the pace and enhance the scope of judicial reform. We shall change the justice system into one the people can rely upon,” she said.

The first task is to mandate former judge and law professor Lin Tzu-yi (林子儀) to form a public consultation committee, which is to canvass opinions from across society regarding reform progress and provide regular updates to the Presidential Office, Tsai said.

For the second task, Tsai said she is to coordinate between the ministries and the five branches of government, because the reform efforts are to affect all of them and their participation is needed.

The third task is focused on agencies under the Judicial Yuan and the Executive Yuan, which would be asked to present initiatives and policies to implement reforms where no legal amendments are required, she said.

Fourth, Tsai said the Judicial Yuan and the Executive Yuan would be asked to submit regular updates twice a year and present reports to the public on the pace and progress of reform.

The fifth task would require government agencies to present reports to the Legislative Yuan, so that legislators can fully understand the scope of the legal amendments involved, she said.

“Since many of the reform issues are related to the authority and lawmaking mandates of the legislature, we need to have comprehensive dialogue with lawmakers for mutual understanding,” Tsai said.

Mechanisms are to be set up to solicit opinions and suggestions from across society, “so that people who were not part of the process before can also have input. Once some consensus has been reached, then draft bills for legal amendments will be introduced to the legislature for examination,” she said.

“As people know, there was another national congress on judicial reform in the past, where many of the consensuses and proposed measures were not implemented, so today, quite a few members talked about the importance of implementation,” Tsai said.

“They are right. We should not believe that by holding meetings we can solve all the problems. The key to judicial reform lies in follow-up actions. I am the convener for this congress, therefore my responsibility will not end here,” she added.

Tsai was referring to a national effort toward judicial reform in 1999, when the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was in power, presided over by then-vice president Lien Chan (連戰).

Judicial Reform Foundation officials and legal experts had criticized the 1999 round of judicial reform as a waste of time and effort, because despite strong words, promises and a thick report full of recommendations, the KMT government failed to implement the recommendations and made few changes in the follow-up work.